Friday, June 12, 2020

The Wilderness Years - Here It Comes pt. 3

As stated in the past, dumb luck counts too. As my stock from Max and Ruby dwindled i had my ear to the streets but it was nothing but crickets and dead-ends. The option of last resort was my man Pizza Joe but even that was in jeopardy as Pizza Joe had let his bar adjacent to the pizza shop become a hangout for a more criminal element. After the first shooting the rule was check your gun at the door. I was the only white guy who'd even venture into the place other than Pizza Joe after 9PM, apparently i was known as the Tree Man among a certain segment of the clientele who knew. The backstory was that before the place had turned into a gangsta's paradise i used to hang out and sling weed out of the place on a regular basis. At the time a guy i knew, Granola Kenny, had smuggled seeds back from Amsterdam and was growing in his closet. Of course Granola wanted to make some extra cash so he offered me the chance to move his excess. As is always the case the kids never understand the risk or the business and it took a while for Granola Kenny to grasp my line of thinking. As i explained to him, i can't buy it retail price from you and move it and make money and since i'm in this fucking business to make money and not basically do charity work so you can buy a swanky mountain bike. I stated i buy at wholesale price so i can mark it up and take my cut. Granola Kenny did a lot of hemming and hawing and chattering about how good it was and he expected to make more and blah blah fucking blah. Finally i stated, no worries than, you break it down and sell it, i'll take a quarter for myself i said and left it at that. Granola understood the rules well enough to know that growing AND selling is a bad idea, especially if you're selling out of the same place you grow or word gets out your growing in your apartment because then it is ripe to robbed. At the time i still had a connection so it wasn't like i needed to sell it, i'd be fine either way, but Granola needed me to sell it so when it all came down Granola acquiesced and the finest Amsterdam weed one could find in the burgh was mine to move. 

Jughead was the ranking hood. A nice guy with good business sense who just so happened to also move a shit ton of coke and smack through our fair city. Jug didn't touch that shit but Jug did love his weed and when it was discovered the white boy had the finest weed in the city we became acquainted. Pizza Joe introduced us and Jug and i became pals. As the bar took a turn towards the dangerous Jug made it a point to get the hell out of the place by 7PM. He was smart that way. Needless to say he loved the Amsterdam special and became the biggest purchaser of said gear. I explained to him it was in limited supply and that i needed to spread it around a bit and he'd give a little laugh and say i'll take whatever's left, all of it, he even offered to up his price but i explained the situation and he understood. We were cool. We'd meet in the afternoon and he'd grin, you could smell the goodness from ten feet away even through the odor of stale beer and cigarette smoke. We'd bullshit, have a few beers and talk shop. Jug would sell his gear sitting at the bar and i'd marvel at the parade of speed freaks and junkies who would come through the door. The coke fiends all smiling, drinking, chattering, scoring and running to the bathroom for a blast, the junkies all sitting quietly, half sick, scoring and practically running out the door.

It wasn't long before the bar was becoming a regular stop for the police. The city had already tagged it a "nuisance bar", meaning it was on a short leash before it got padlocked. Granola Kenny's short lived run as professional grower had come to and end every now and then Jughead and i would bump into each other and shoot the shit. A mutual respect among the pros. The bar was finally padlocked after a shooting, a guy shot 3 times as he walked out the door, a clip unloaded, a half dozen or more bullet marks on the brick surrounding the door. Pizza Joe, himself a coke dealer who liked his product a little too much, disappeared owing Jug for a couple ounces of blow and the short and turbulent life of the corner bar and pizza shop was over. After one more owner it was knocked down and turned into a fucking Chipotle. I assume that's what the pols call progress. 

Back to my dwindling supply and the events leading up to Pizza Joe's demise and i was suddenly thinking i might be shit outta luck... and then my phone rang one day. It was Stiv. He wanted to talk to me about some things. He wondered if we could meet up ASAP, Stiv being the paranoid sort didn't go into much on the phone but i said sure, did i need to bring anything? i asked, no he said, he just wanted to talk about some stuff. And so i said i could meet whenever and he explained he didn't want anyone around so no business, he needed it to be confidential. I stated that wasn't a problem and agreed to meet him the next day for happy hour. That would give me time to meet up and see what the hell was going on while still being able to get home and do a little business. I had no idea what he wanted and since i had heard through back channels he had come home from a disastrous adventure out west i was guessing it was going to be a therapy session or he wanted to buy some weight, which i didn't have a the time, to make some extra money. Needless to say my expectations weren't very high. 

I arrived at the appointed time in the appointed bar. Happy Hour is great for the machinations of the shady as it brings the proper amount of noise and bustle to cover things up. Stiv and i found a corner and got down to it. In his usual brusque and anti-social manner Stiv wasted no time and cut right to the chase. I got something i wanted you to see, he said and clandestinely slid me a baggie. I understood now why Stiv picked this particular pub as the toilets were conducive to examining and/or doing drugs. I casually sauntered to the bathroom, took a quick glance and locked myself in a stall. On opening the baggie i was hit with the pleasant smell of ganja, i took out a bud and examined it, a fine green specimen that had few if any seeds, outdoor grown, well-cured and cared for, it was the midi as we called it, not only that it was on the high end of the midi, the kind of stuff that bordered on the really high end but without the high end price. Needless to say the wheels in my head were churning. I walked out and coolly sat back down. 

What do you think? he asked. I think it's good, i said. What's the deal with it? can you get this stuff? Stiv almost smiled and said yes, he could get it and then proceeded to tell me the story. He explained about the driving gig he turned down and said his friend was doing him a favor to help him out. We talked price, and his number worked for me, for a guy who barely passed math i had become very adept at doing accounting in my head, with the quality i had already worked out how the margins and as Stiv talked my antenna went up even more. It seemed that there was an endless supply if we wanted it and if we could move it. From the get go Stiv was talking about moving at least 5 pounds a week, a number in my Nickel Dimer status that i said i didn't know if i could do. Granted i said if it's always looks like this i'm sure we could get close but i told him i usually moved between a pound and change a week, on a stellar week maybe two. I did say that if it was that readily available i could sell more weight and that i always had people asking me about that but have rarely had the supply to do it. In a way these types of things are like a friendly game of poker. You don't want to show your hand but you want to stay in the game. The real bonus was when Stiv explained that credit was not a problem, or more in the vernacular, all the gear would be fronted to Stiv who would then front it to me and i would return with cash for him to take his cut and pay the man. 

We ordered more beers and shook on our new partnership. I didn't let Stiv know i was on the lookout for a connection, i had already gleaned in dealing with him one didn't want to give him any sort of advantage in the negotiating department. Luckily he was new to this and i had ample years experience. He then actually loosened up and launched into his tale of woe and heartbreak concerning his trip west. I sat and listened and said all the proper things and after another beer he asked if i wanted the pound he brought back with him. He couldn't move it, he said. A bit of useful information that i filed away. It was in his car and since he didn't want it lying about his place he figured he'd bring it with him for me to take if i wanted it. Sounds like a plan i said. We discussed our next moves, he would go up and bring back 5 pounds and i would get to work showing and selling the new product to my faithful and loving clientele. And off we went. 

1 comment:

looby said...

These are just fascinating stories kono!

"Granola Kenny" :) Sounds like when he's not shifting drugs he's a muesli importer.